June 19, 2008

Heather’s Journey

"I STARTED suffering from depression in 1986 when I was studying English and religious studies at Roehampton University in London.

"I was in my second year having exams and found it quite stressful. Now there is a lot more awareness about how stress can trigger depression. In the 1980s it was even more stigmatised than it is now.

"I worked as a marketing officer in Coventry for 10 years.

"For the last three years I have been doing temporary or part- time work, because I had to take time off for ill health.

"My illness is a big part of who I am. It was a case that I couldn't be 100 per cent myself because people did not know about it.

"You have good days and bad days. When you're taking medication it can have a profound effect on you. I have taken every anti- depressant going. Counselling has helped and working with the charity, MIND, which offers brilliant services. I'm a big believerin diet and exercise. I am vegan and, before a recent leg operation, enjoyed long-distance running."

There is a happy ending. Just under a year ago Heather, who had previously been divorced, remarried. She fell in love with Chris Payne, a retired professor of social care at De Montfort University. The couple met at Coventry Greyhound Group, whichHeather co- founded.

(c) 2008 Coventry Evening Telegraph. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.